How To Avoid Alcohol Relapse

What is Relapse?

Once you leave an addiction treatment facility or outpatient program, the work doesn’t end there. You have most likely heard about the risk of relapse as something that can undermine the recovery process; however, it doesn’t have to. Understanding relapse, its causes, and how to avoid it is a key part of remaining substance-free and maintaining abstinence in the years to come.

Addiction relapse refers to a return to drug use after an attempt to stop and is a well-chronicled risk with any substance use disorder. In the case of alcohol use disorder (AUD), it refers to any time you drink alcohol after an intentional, sustained period of abstinence.

Relapse has three stages, and each stage has distinct characteristics:

Stage One: Emotional

The first stage of relapse can find the person isolating from others and missing 12-step meetings. They may find that previous mental health concerns begin to resurface, and they start to neglect their personal appearance and self-care.

Stage Two: Mental

This stage of the process presents with mental health changes; glamorizing or fantasizing about past drinking, internally negotiating over drinking and re-engaging with friends they used to drink with. They may also start to plan how they can drink again.

Stage Three: Physical

This is what most people imagine when they think about relapse; when a person in recovery starts drinking again. It is the hardest phase to fight back against and usually only occurs following an unmanaged period of emotional or mental relapse.

Causes of Alcohol Relapse

Many situations can trigger an urge to drink again. Some common occurrences that might lead to relapse include:

Sudden Changes or Crises in Personal Life

Many different things can upend a person’s stability. Job loss, grief, breakup, and changes in housing all put us under a great deal of mental stress. When this happens, coping mechanisms come into play. An effective treatment program will help build strategies for emotionally taxing situations, but these habits need to be maintained; otherwise, the temptation to return to the old crutch of alcohol may re-surface.

Return To Old Routines

Old situations, places, and people that used to trigger binge drinking are usually still accessible when someone is in recovery. If a person starts to go back to the routines and interactions of pre-recovery life, it’s likely to accompany a step back into an addiction mindset.

Untreated Mental Health Challenges

Substance use disorder often occurs at the same time as mental health or mood disorders (e.g. anxiety, depression, or PTSD). When someone in recovery suffers from these conditions without treatment, they can hinder an attempt to stay sober.

Negative Thinking Cycles

When negative thoughts arise and aren’t understood or managed, they can begin a cycle that leads addictive thinking to return. Thoughts can include negative self-labeling (I'm an addict), all-or-nothing thoughts (I thought about drinking, so my recovery has failed), catastrophizing obstacles (I can never overcome this upcoming challenge), or just be as simple as a total fear of change. Thinking like this can be managed, but it can break down our confidence and undermine our sobriety when it is left unchecked.

Isolating From Support Structures

When someone stops scheduling meetings with their sober partners or attending AA meetings, they isolate themselves in two ways. Firstly, these meetings provide a structured space to connect with the emotional side of recovery and offer the opportunity to talk and help each other through the challenges of remaining abstinent. Secondly, disengaging removes any accountability - something that can be used as an effective tool against relapse.

Relapse prevention is a core goal of effective addiction treatment. These setbacks can typically be overcome with effective coping skills, planning, and reflection. It is also essential to keep up with one’s community of support. Engaging with family and friends and allowing them to actively take part in the recovery journey makes the road a lot smoother.

Not everyone experiences a relapse, but it is not uncommon and can certainly be overcome. Avoid enabling. If you or someone you love has relapsed, understand that this does not mean returning to square one. This is a moment to figure out what extra support may be necessary and what areas of life have contributed to the relapse, then working out coping mechanisms to help prevent it from happening again.

We Can Help

At Enlightened Solutions, we offer clients the tools and techniques they need to overcome these obstacles and live a happy, sober life. Our therapeutic treatment is rooted in the 12-step philosophy and is designed to help you heal and stay sober long-term. In addition to talk therapy, we offer a range of holistic treatment modalities, including meditation, art and music therapy, and family constellation therapy. If you or a loved one wants relief from alcohol addiction but is struggling with relapse, please call us today at (833) 801-5483.


Benefits of Group Therapy

What Is Group Therapy?

Group therapy is an effective treatment approach for Substance Use Disorder (SUD). It supports individual therapy and medication in a multi-pronged approach to addiction recovery(1). The idea of group therapy can be daunting for many, as people often fear opening up and becoming vulnerable in front of others. These fears usually subside after beginning group work.

Johan Hari says the ‘opposite of addiction is connection.’ Addiction can be a very isolating experience. When we participate in group therapy, we learn to connect and empathize with others. Ultimately, this leads to greater self-compassion and growth, which are two key factors for long-term recovery.

A trained mental health professional leads group therapy sessions. Clients get the chance to share their stories, thoughts, and experiences, and listen to others in the group share similar experiences. This cultivates a sense of understanding and compassion in the room.

Addiction impacts our mental and physical health. It also affects our well-being(2). It is common for those struggling with addiction to feel guilt and low self-worth. Many live with an internal voice that criticizes their life and choices, and the internal chatter, thoughts, and beliefs that come with addiction can be exhausting. 

In group therapy, clients learn that many others also experience these self-criticisms. Groups help us understand that such negative thoughts result from:

  • Addiction
  • Unresolved trauma
  • Other mental health issues

We learn that these thoughts are not a reflection of our worth or validity as a person. 

What Are the Benefits of Group Therapy?

Group therapy is a cornerstone of addiction and mental health treatment. It increases self-awareness and promotes positive therapeutic outcomes. Group therapies for SUD target specific substances. Others in your group will also be in recovery from a given substance, and members may be at different stages of their recovery journey. 

Common benefits of group therapy for SUD include:

  • Compassionate support and encouragement
  • Perspective on one's experience
  • Improved behavioral health
  • Improved communication skills
  • Reduced sense of isolation and loneliness
  • Connection to others

According to SAMHSA, 'the lives of individuals are shaped, for better or worse, by their experiences in groups. People are born into groups. Throughout life, they join groups. They will influence and be influenced by family, religious, social, and cultural groups that constantly shape behavior, self‐image, and both physical and mental health.'(3)

As such, group work is a powerful healing tool. Through connection with and understanding of others, clients in group therapy get the chance to shift their perspective on their circumstances. One of the principles of group work is fostering a greater connection to ourselves and others.

What Types of Group Therapy Are Available?

Treatment providers use various group-based treatment models to help clients achieve lasting recovery. Groups usually consist of members who share treatment needs, and common types of groups used in addiction recovery programs include:

Psychoeducational Groups

Clients learn about the nature of addiction and mental health issues. Psychoeducation (PE) groups cover addiction, medication, mental health conditions, and lifestyle. Topics covered in PE encourage self-exploration, and clients explore how topics relate to their own circumstances.

Support Groups

Support groups provide peer support and a sense of accountability in clients. They encourage resilience and maintenance of sobriety. 

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

This group helps clients recognize limiting patterns of thoughts and beliefs. Clients in this group learn to:

  • Develop practical problem-solving skills
  • Set realistic goals
  • Identify maladaptive behaviors and emotions

Skill-building groups

Skill-building and development groups teach clients about relapse prevention and self-management. In this group, clients learn how to set healthy boundaries. They learn how to manage difficult emotions, how to relax, and how to cope with triggers and stress. 

Interpersonal Process Groups

Interpersonal process groups focus on clients issues and offer effective solutions. A client discusses an issue and works with group members to find solutions. Interpersonal groups offer the chance to practice communication and problem-solving. Clients then apply these skills to their relationships outside treatment.

Each of the above group models has benefits for clients struggling with SUD. A trauma-informed, expert-trained group leader facilitates a powerful therapeutic experience for each group. The type of group offered to a client must suit their treatment needs. 

At Enlightened Solutions, we offer our clients tools to use as they move forward in their sober lifestyle.  We focus on healing the whole person rather than merely treating the addiction. Enlightened Solutions is a licensed co-occurring treatment center, meaning that we can treat both substance use disorders and the mental health issues that frequently accompany addiction.  Our treatment program rooted in the 12-Step philosophy offers each client an individualized recovery plan. At Enlightened Solutions, we offer a range of treatment modalities, including cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), family constellation therapy, art and music therapy, yoga and meditation, acupuncture and chiropractic work, and equine-assisted therapy.  Our location near the southern shore of New Jersey allows us to provide optimal healing and relaxation. If you struggle with addiction, or if someone close to you does, please call us at (833) 801-5483 for more information about our treatment options.

 

(1) Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. Substance Abuse Treatment: Group Therapy. Rockville (MD): Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (US); 2005. (Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) Series, No. 41.) 1 Groups and Substance Abuse Treatment. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK64223/

(2) Lanier, C A et al. “Drug use and mental well being among a sample of undergraduate and graduate college students.” Journal of drug education vol. 31,3 (2001): 239-48. doi:10.2190/R7T3-T266-JN9E-UX3W

(3) Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. Substance Abuse Treatment: Group Therapy. Rockville (MD): Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (US); 2005. (Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) Series, No. 41.) 1 Groups and Substance Abuse Treatment. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK64223/


Understanding MAT

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is an effective approach to addiction treatment. As the name implies, MAT uses medications to help those struggling with addiction overcome their condition.

SAMHSA defines MAT as 'the use of medications, in combination with counseling and behavioral therapies, to provide a "whole-patient" approach to the treatment of substance use disorders.'

Medical intervention is one aspect of a broader approach used in addiction treatment. Medication helps clients manage their problematic symptoms. As a result, they can engage more in other parts of treatment. Clients in addiction recovery programs receive intensive psychotherapy, behavioral therapy and counseling, as well as life coaching and skills building alongside medical support.

What Does MAT Treat?

MAT treats clients struggling with:

  • Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD)
  • Opioid Use Disorder (OUD)

The medications used in MAT promote healthy brain chemistry by rebalancing the hormones and chemicals in the body that have become out of balance due to alcohol or opioid misuse.

Some MAT medications block the effect of alcohol and opioids on the brain. This serves to reduce cravings and helps clients get through the withdrawal stage of recovery. 

Other medications prevent the body from becoming overwhelmed by abstinence from a given drug. For example, sudden cessation of opioid use can be dangerous if the client has a physical dependence. As such, MAT would involve substituting the client's substance of misuse with a safer, controlled substance, such as methadone. 

What Are MAT Medications?

Methadone

Methadone is an effective medication used in opioid addiction treatment. Methadone treatment aims to ease the withdrawal symptoms that occur when a client stops using opioids. Withdrawal is one of the leading causes of relapse. Methadone helps clients get through withdrawal safely so they can start the rest of their recovery.

Buprenorphine

Buprenorphine reduces cravings for clients struggling with OUD. Similar to methadone, Buprenorphine is a partial agonist which means it activates the opioid receptors in the brain, but to a far lesser degree than a full agonist. Buprenorphine, unlike methadone, does not produce a high. 

Naltrexone

Naltrexone is prescribed under the brand name Vivitrol. Naltrexone reduces cravings and lowers rates of relapse in both OUD and AUD. Naltrexone is an opioid antagonist, which means it blocks the brain's opioid receptors. As such, it becomes impossible to achieve the 'high' associated with opiate-derived drugs. MAT providers use Naltrexone after the detox stage of recovery, not before or during. 

What Are the Benefits of Medication-assisted Treatment?

SAMHSA reports that MAT helps clients struggling with AUD or OUD achieve and maintain sobriety. MAT supports clients on a chemical level while also supporting their behavioral health through behavioral therapies. 

Addiction treatment programs use MAT to suit the client's needs. Some medications and therapeutic approaches will be more suitable than others, depending on a range of factors, such as your history of drug misuse and your current health status. MAT's comprehensive and tailored approach offers a range of benefits to clients. Benefits of MAT include:

  • Increased engagement in rehab and therapy
  • Increased likelihood of completing a rehab program
  • Decreased symptom severity
  • Improved chances of gaining and maintaining employment
  • Reduced risk of relapse

Why Choose MAT?

There are many reasons to opt for MAT if you are struggling with AUD or OUD. MAT is an effective treatment approach for both of these disorders. Delivered alongside counseling and behavioral therapy, MAT is an integrated approach to addiction recovery. It can increase the time a person spends in treatment, which increases their chance of recovery success. 

Some people disregard MAT as substituting one drug for another, but this is not the case. MAT is safe. While MAT involves drugs, the medications used are highly regulated at a federal level and are FDA approved. MAT promotes addiction recovery by keeping the body as safe as possible. It reduces the risk of overdose that might happen if a client were to seek illicit drugs on the street. 

MAT is an approach to addiction treatment endorsed and supported by:

A comprehensive and integrated approach to treatment, MAT is a leading treatment type for both alcohol and opioid addiction. By easing withdrawal symptoms, MAT promotes greater resilience and encourages a deeper commitment to one's recovery. 

At Enlightened Solutions, we offer our clients tools to use as they move forward in a sober lifestyle.  We focus on healing the whole person and not just treating the addiction. Enlightened Solutions is a licensed co-occurring treatment center. We treat both substance use disorders and the mental health issues that frequently accompany addiction.  Our treatment program is rooted in the 12-Step philosophy and provides each client an individualized recovery plan. At Enlightened Solutions, we offer a range of treatment modalities, including cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), family constellation therapy, art and music therapy, yoga and meditation, massage,reiki, acupuncture and chiropractic care, and equine-assisted therapy.  Our facility near the picturesque southern shore of New Jersey allows us to provide optimal healing and relaxation. If you struggle with addiction, or if someone close to you does, please call us at (833) 801-5483 for more information.


Boundaries in Recovery 101

Boundaries in Recovery 101

If you’re someone that’s in recovery, it’s necessary to set healthy boundaries for yourself and with those around you. You cannot properly learn to recover if you feel like you frequently let people walk all over you or you have a hard time saying no. Without boundaries; you aren’t showing up for yourself and being the best you that you can be. Drawing the line and sticking to it regarding what you think is acceptable is a necessary step to setting boundaries. Of course, these things are going to change from person to person, which is why you must be upfront with your loved ones about what you expect from them and what is and isn't okay. 

Be aware of your triggers

Something is a trigger if it brings up bad memories or makes you want to turn to the substance you know you shouldn’t be using during your recovery. To set boundaries so that you can avoid your triggers as much as possible, you must first figure out what usually triggers you. Of course, avoiding every trigger all of the time is virtually impossible. You can, however, set boundaries that tell yourself and others what is okay and what is not okay, and what you expect from yourself and others in certain situations. Knowing your triggers helps to draw the line when you’re setting boundaries.

Stand up for yourself

Standing up for yourself can be extremely difficult for some people. Many people in recovery often feel like they are a burden to others, and they shouldn’t bring up their boundaries because they will weigh down others or dampen the mood. You have to make sure that other people know what your boundaries are so that they can respect them. You also need to be able to set them down and respect them yourself. Other people won’t know how to act if you are not firm in your boundaries.

Allow yourself to say no

Another tricky thing for many people is learning to say no. Some people get afraid of hurting or offending others by saying no. Here’s the thing: if you aren’t able to stand up and firmly say no when someone has crossed the line, then your boundaries will soon be in shambles. You are allowed to say no. Learn to use the word no as a complete sentence. You don’t have to explain everything to everyone you meet. Be firm in your decision to say no. 

Remove the guilt

When you begin to say no, you might notice that there is some guilt attached to the word. That’s okay. However, the more times you can stand up for yourself and your boundaries, the easier it will get to set them the next time You’ll begin to be comfortable with your boundaries and your expectations. Over time, your guilt will start to fade away. 

Here is the time where we help give you guidelines so you can begin to set your boundaries. It can be challenging to set boundaries with the people you love; but, the people who love you will still love you after you’ve set boundaries with them. They will learn to respect them and respect you. Boundaries keep you safe, so don’t slack off on them when it’s someone you love! Your non-negotiable boundaries will come from the values that you hold close to our hearts. These are things that you are not willing to compromise. 

Figure out what you value

The first step to setting boundaries is to figure out what you value in your life. You must first decide what means the most to you. There are going to be some things that matter more than others, which helps you create your boundaries. If you value something so profoundly, you probably are going to want to set a non-negotiable boundary around that thing. Don’t compromise on something important to you. Remember: you can say no and not give an explanation!

Figure out what you need

The second step to setting boundaries is to figure out what you need based on what you value. Make what you value the center of your life. If you have figured out that you value creative time, you’re going to want to set aside time where you do not have any meetings or obligations. You’re going to use your spare time to be creative because that is what you value. 

Find a way to honor these things

The third step to setting boundaries is to find a way to honor the things you value and need. Once you realize that you value your creativity and need more time to be creative, you can honor the promise to yourself by rearranging your schedule to find more time for creativity and less time for non-essential things. Honoring your values and your voice is essential for setting healthy boundaries. 

If you or a loved one want to learn to set and communicate boundaries, call us today at 833-801-LIVE.


Beating Insomnia During Addiction Recovery

Beating Insomnia During Addiction Recovery

It can be a challenge to get some sleep when you are in early recovery for addiction. Our minds and bodies are adjusting to not having those abusive substances keep us up at night. By using stress reduction techniques and making sure you are in a dark environment where the light cannot get in, you should be able to sleep soundly.

Insomnia During Alcohol Withdrawal

There are people who drink alcohol thinking it will help their insomnia to get them to fall asleep. The truth is that alcohol increases the time it takes to fall asleep, disrupts sleep time, and increases snoring and apnea. Symptoms can be nightmares, having trouble falling asleep, racing thoughts through the night, etc. Without proper treatment to sleep, your sleep cycle can worsen over time.

Light Exposure

Exposure to the morning sunlight is telling our body that it is time for a new day. The stress hormone cortisol gets released to help us get out of bed. We do not want this hormone to be activated at night too. By having our television, computer, smart phones, and tablet screens on, the blue light tells our bodies to shut down the production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Cortisol is produced instead which makes us alert and awake which makes it harder for us to fall asleep. You should add blue light blocking apps to your smartphones and tablets as well as programming your television to turn off an hour before it is time to go to bed. You should instead read a book or listen to soft music like new age or classical. If you prefer to read from a tablet such as a Nook or a Kindle, turn the light off of the Kindle or just listen to an audiobook.

Change Your Sleep Environment

Remember that the sole purpose of your bedroom is to go to sleep. Take a good look at your bed so that you can train your mind that this room is meant for sleeping. It helps to make a clear path of your bed so that there is nothing around that can distract you. This involves picking up your clothes from the floor, straightening your desk, and clearing any clutter off of your bed like excess pillows or stuffed animals. You should also make sure that your room is the right temperature such as making sure that you are sleeping with the fan on to prevent sweating in your sleep. You also do not want to be too cold either so you should make sure that the temperature of your room is 60-70 degrees, according to The National Sleep Foundation.

Keep your room as dark as possible so that no excess light comes in. This may involve closing your blinds or having a shade cover your window. If you want music or other sounds from your television, turn on the function that only turns the picture off. If there are any LED lights still sticking out from your electronics, cover them up with masking tape. A sleeping mask is also a good alternative is light is still able to come into your room as well as wearing reusable earplugs so that you no longer hear anyone in your house or the busy streets.

Nightly Stress Reduction Techniques

You should end the day feeling stress-free and looking forward to the day that will come tomorrow. One stress reduction technique you can do is journal all of your thoughts that are racing in your head right now. Make a recap of all of the good things that have happened to you today and what you look forward to doing tomorrow. If you made any mistakes today in regards to your recovery, write down what you would like to work on and a solution to ensure that it will not happen again. Journaling can be a great way to wipe the slate clean instead of sleeping with those stressful thoughts in your head keeping you up at night.

Another stress reduction technique would be to relax our breathing. Remember that how we breathe is the one thing that we can control from our autonomic nervous system. Try to breathe in for six seconds, hold for seven seconds, and exhale for eight seconds or visualize a box when you breathe. This will help activate the parasympathetic branch of the nervous system which is responsible for how we rest. Meditating for five minutes before it is time to sleep can also be a useful tool to activate the theta brain waves which is associated with deep sleep. This can help us better relax when we have had a stressful day and make it easier to relax to help us fall asleep.

Sleep Supplements

While you may think taking sleeping pills is a wise choice to help you fall asleep, they can also be habit forming and cause you to form another addiction. Taking relaxing herbs, botanicals, and amino acid supplements can be a good alternative to sleep medications without any bad side effects. There is tryptophan which produces melatonin and makes you naturally sedated. There is also gaba which calms and relaxes the neurotransmitters and reduces anxiety. Lemon balm can improve mood as well as promote relaxation. By using any of these techniques at night to help fall asleep, not only will this increase your chances of a successful recovery but also a good night’s sleep.

Located on the shore of Southern New Jersey, Enlightened Solutions is a recovery center that uses evidence-based therapies and holistic healing to treat addiction and mental illness. With the opportunity to learn about therapies that are keyed in to healing the human spirit and learning about new stress reducing techniques centered around a 12 step network, you will be ensure a lasting recovery. For more information, please call us at 833-801-LIVE as we are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.


What to Do During a Depressive Episode

Two woman working in the office. Answering questions and discussing business. Intentional low key color style

It can be hard when you do not know what to do during a depressive episode. This can mean losing interest in things you used to love to do, getting angry, restless, not being able to sleep, moving or talking more slowly than usual, having aches and pains for no reason, etc. By recognizing your triggers and being aware that what you are feeling now is temporary, you should be able to get through these episodes with hardly any struggle.

Keep Calm

When you feel a depressive episode occurring, this can make you feel panicked and nervous. If you give into these symptoms, it will only leave you with low moods and other extreme actions like loss of appetite or not being able to sleep. If you panic, then you will not be able to think. The best thing that you can do is try to stay calm. Remember that all of these feelings are temporary. That they have gone away in the past and will continue to do so again. Focus on how strong you are and what you have learned in the past to make these episodes go away. There are many techniques to help you stay calm like meditation and breathing exercises. Focus on your own breath and stay in the present.

Acknowledge Your Depression

Accept that you have depression and are struggling with it instead of making yourself belief that it does not exist. Do some research about depression so that you are aware of how common it is and that it is not a sign of weakness but a mental disorder that can be treated. With the awareness that depressive episodes have a tendency to occur, you will be able to better prepare for them if you know they are coming.

Depression Does Not Define You

Depression is a condition that is a part of you but that is not all that you are. You need to remind yourself that you are not defined by your depressive episodes. Chant to yourself that you may have depression, but you are not depression. That you have a name and other attributes to your personality that have nothing to do with your depression. Think of who you are to other people whether it is a parent, a brother, a sister, a friend, a neighbor, etc. You should write down a list of the strengths, abilities, and other qualities that separate you from other people. Look at this list when you feel a depressive episode coming on and remind yourself who you are.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a form of therapy that changes the negative thought patterns of a person into positive ones as a person’s thoughts shape who they are. While there are therapists that specialize in this form of therapy that can offer you tactics, you can also do this at home. Think of how often these negative thoughts come to you and what is being said in your thoughts. You may think that you are not good enough or feel like a failure. Instead of letting these thoughts stay with you, change them to positive thoughts. For example, if you feel like a failure, remind yourself of everything that you have accomplished up to today that may be hard for other people to do. Know your worth and live by it.

Nighttime Routine

Not getting enough sleep can lead to more depressive symptoms coming your way and depression can be the reason why you are not getting enough sleep. Try to make a nighttime routine every night so that your length of sleep is always the same. For example, this can mean that you have decided that the night is over for you around nine p.m. You have decided to cozy up to a nice book with a cup of tea by your bedside. Try not to watch television or go on your computer or smartphone as this will keep you more awaken when the goal is to unwind. If your thoughts are still racing and you are having trouble going to sleep, write your thoughts down in a journal as a way of telling yourself that tomorrow is another day and it is time to wipe your mind clean of today’s problems. Remember that it takes about fifteen minutes to fall asleep so plan when it is time to sleep accordingly.

Be Aware of Your Depressive Triggers

These depressive triggers do not come out of nowhere. Something in your life causes these episodes to occur. One red flag can be when you hear others around you talking about their successes. You may be thinking that everyone has it easier than you and that your friends will all be a success while you remain a failure. Another red flag can be that you have not been exercising lately which is causing you not to have a lot of energy to do things you were able to do before.

Your friends may not be able to help bragging about their successes. If you are aware that these episodes occur in moments of hearing the success of others, speak to a therapist or a parent about how you are feeling. Instead of ignoring these red flags, acknowledge them. Alternately, you should prevent letting these depressive episodes define you. Choose to overcome them by planning out what to do and tackle these episodes head on.

Located on the shore of Southern New Jersey, Enlightened Solutions is a recovery center that uses evidence-based therapies and holistic healing to treat addiction and mental illness. With the opportunity to learn about therapies that are keyed in to healing the human spirit and learning about new stress reducing techniques centered around a 12 step network, you will be ensure a lasting recovery. For more information, please call us at 833-801-LIVE as we are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.


Subconscious Blocks to Healing

Subconscious Blocks to Healing

While we’re working towards recovery, we will inevitably be confronted with different forms of internal resistance, blocks within us that are preventing us from healing. Our subconscious mind is where our emotional information and memory is stored, including our wounds, memories of our trauma, and our deeply rooted fears. Often when we’re trying to heal from addictions and mental health issues, we’re mostly dealing with our conscious emotions and issues, the things we’re already aware of. In therapy, for example, we’re discussing the issues we’re conscious of, the traumatic experiences we can remember, the problems we already know we have. Until we start going deeper to heal on a subconscious level, we’ll only be scratching the surface of our potential for healing. Learning about the subconscious blocks we’re holding onto within us can help us achieve more transformative healing.

We can get clues as to what is stored in our subconscious mind by listening to our self-talk, monitoring how we feel by default when we’re not paying attention, and examining our beliefs. What kinds of things does your inner voice say about you, and about your potential for recovery? Are you consciously working your recovery program but internally battling a voice telling you that recovery is impossible? Are your default emotions full of hopelessness and fear? Are you holding onto limiting beliefs about yourself and your ability to heal?

Many of us consciously want to believe the best about ourselves and our recovery but subconsciously believe that we’re not good enough, that we aren’t strong enough to get better, that we don’t have what it takes to do what’s best for ourselves. Our self-talk is full of discouraging, belittling and stifling language. We don’t believe in our strength, our willpower, our courage, or our potential. Many of us have seen other addicts attempt recovery and then fail, which can feed a subconscious belief that we will fail too and that recovery is impossible for us. When we aren’t monitoring how we feel, we slip into thoughts of despair and defeat. We list our failures and mistakes rather than our accomplishments and strengths. We are subconsciously rooting for our downfall rather than our success.

Since the subconscious mind governs the vast majority of our daily lives, our subconscious blocks to healing inform everything in our lives, from the things we think, to the emotions we have, and the beliefs we hold onto. Our chances of recovery are only as likely as our ability to really believe that we can recover.

At Enlightened Solutions, we will work with you holistically to heal mind, body and spirit and to achieve wellness on both a conscious and subconscious level. Call (833) 801-LIVE.


Taking Small Steps Towards Recovery

Taking Small Steps Towards Recovery

The recovery process can feel overwhelming, daunting, even terrifying at times. We’re being asked to push ourselves to confront painful emotions that have been blocked for years. We’re dealing with issues that have been buried within us, that take incredible strength to face. When we feel too overwhelmed and burdened by our recovery program, we’re less likely to be able to keep up with it. The stress can overtake us, and we can find ourselves relapsing or giving up on our goals altogether. One helpful solution for this very common problem is to break down our recovery program into small steps and take things one small step at a time, one day at a time.

When something about our program feels too daunting, let’s see how we can break it down into smaller steps that are easier to handle and navigate. For example, the idea of starting treatment can be so scary that we continuously put it off. Our procrastination is just a byproduct of our fear. To help ease our fears and break the treatment process down into smaller steps, we can start by researching treatment centers, getting tours of their facilities, speaking with their staff and alumnae, and reading testimonials about people’s personal experiences being in treatment. Chances are, when we look at things this way, they start to feel less scary and impossible to manage.

Small steps we can start to take are asking a family member or friend for help finding a therapist and making a list of support groups to attend. We can develop a gratitude practice where we list the things we feel grateful for every day, to help us with our feelings of sadness, hopelessness and anxiety. We can start to get regular exercise to help us naturally lift our mood and combat depression. We can commit to seeing our therapist or going to a support group once a week. We can ask for help in connecting with a sponsor and then plan to communicate with our sponsor on a regular basis.

Taking small steps helps us to feel like a very large and complicated process is actually more approachable and manageable. We can start to feel like we’re capable of doing the work, and this self-belief can make all the difference in our recovery. When we feel defeated, like we’re climbing an uphill battle we can’t win, we’re more likely to give up altogether. Breaking larger things down into smaller steps can give us back our hopefulness and ambition, which can give us the motivation we need to keep going.

We’re here to give you the support and understanding you need for a successful recovery. Call Enlightened Solutions today: (833) 801-LIVE.


I Can't Even

“I can’t even” is in your mind

“I can’t even”. It’s a popular term in the internet world. As a culture we have decided to attach ourselves to a certain exhaustion. Much of the world today is exhausting. Conflict reigns everywhere. Yet somehow, we persist in our beliefs that we simply cannot. We can’t deal, we can’t cope, we can’t even pretend to muster the enthusiasm to pretend that we might have the motivation to make it seem like we can. Though it is probably we could, we just aren’t going to. Whatever it is we aren’t doing, we aren’t doing it because we really believe we couldn’t, even if we tried.

For recovery from drug and alcohol addiction this is an essentially interesting mindset during treatment. Considering the extreme that comes with, quite actually, one who cannot stop drinking or using drugs, it is interesting when they cannot participate in treatment. Learning to deal with reality, or “life on life’s terms” as it is called in recovery, is critical. Coping skills, emotional regulation skills, and mindfulness skills are necessary to be able to let go of the need to control life. When we “can’t” we’re really trying to control. Going into a default mode of resistance or exhaustion is in itself a coping mechanism, a way to try and avoid life. We may not always have to, but there will be times when we need to. It is important to our recovery to try and be as present as possible in our lives. Being is much different from doing. Can or cannot is a matter of doing. Being able to do or do not is a different situation entirely.

Recent research has discovered that the brain decides it is tired long before the body itself is tired. Alcoholism is a disease of the body, mind, and spirit. Though the spirit is torn and the brain is off track, the body persists in pursuing more and more alcohol. Most fatigue is a perception. Alcoholism skews that perception. According to the research, there’s no reason physically that we can’t. However, the mental exhaustion is what makes us feel that way. When we are new to sober life, we are really new to life sober. Trying to keep up with the constant influx of emotions and stimuli can be exhausting, leading us to feel like we can’t even.

You can. You will. Getting yourself into treatment to start the journey of recovery means you already are. Sobriety is one giant can. By staying sober everyday you are doing and being the sober miracle of recovery.

Enlightened Solutions is committed to helping you learn how to live a fully fulfilled life again. We offer multiple levels of care in a compassionate and comfortable environment. Fusing evidence based treatment with holistic healthcare and 12 step philosophy, Enlightened focuses on curing body mind and soul. Please call 833-801-5483 for more information.


Things You Need to Know About Treatment

It Isn’t Jail

Treatment might feel like a punishment, but it isn’t. For some, attending treatment or “rehab” for a drug or alcohol addiction might come as a court order or mandated by an employer. Treating addiction and the addicts who are suffering from it is never about the dichotomy between “bad” and “good”. Though many addicts have a criminal record, they are not criminals. They are neither immoral, lost, nor inherently wrong in any way. Addicts are sick people who need to get well. It may be difficult to come to terms with the fact that you or a loved one is sick with a peculiar disease. Treatment is a time to get well and learn how to live in wellness for the rest of your life.

There Are Rules

Despite what many think, treatment isn’t a time to luxuriate and miraculously get sober. Of course, there are many luxurious amenities that come with treatment and some facilities even advertise themselves as being luxury. Treatment will come with rules, schedules, and structure. Some of the most basic rules are going to include: no doing drugs and no drinking alcohol. Depending on the type of treatment and the type of facility there will be unique and specific rules as well. Generally, there will be a lights out curfew, a wake up time, needing to take medication every day, and most likely, no fraternizing with patients of the opposite sex (or same sex).

Everything is For Your Benefit

When you are working through therapy modalities which may seem awkward you might find yourself asking how this is supposed to help. Most treatment facilities base their programs off of proven methods of therapy and evidence-based treatment modalities. That means every single part of your daily programming in treatment has a purpose. As time goes on you will start to recognize the lessons in every day activities.

You’re Going to Feel Better

You may think that 28-30 days isn’t going to make a difference. Truth be told, in the long scheme of things, 30 days is just the beginning stage of a lifelong process in recovery. However, within those first thirty days, you will start to see some pretty big transformations. You will start to regain mental clarity and as you absorb more and more therapeutic information, you will crave substances less. Your body will stop hurting, your brain will stop hurting, and you’ll start feeling better. At the end of 30 days, you’ll be craving more recovery, rather than more drugs and alcohol.